4 key actions for less stress and an optimized process.
For travel managers, dealing with pressure isn’t an option. It’s an expected part of the job. And, while chaos hopefully isn’t part of your everyday work schedule, it’s likely there are days that could be better.
So what can you do to cope with chaos and ensure you’re ready to face anything - even if it’s a last minute report or sudden issue with your Travel Management Company?
When chaos strikes, this is how successful travel managers stay in charge of the situation.
#1 Get processes in order now, so your whole team knows what to do when problems arise
Being organised is second nature to travel managers - in a recent survey, nearly 80% agreed it’s one the most important skills for the job.
But what happens when you’re out of the office and chaos strikes? Will your team know what to do without you there? Do they know how to handle problems with consolidating travel and expense data or dissatisfied travellers?
Using flowchart tools, like Lucidchart, or SIPOC diagrams make it easy to communicate these process with the team. It ensures everyone knows the plan and can start fixing the problem, rather than worrying about what they need to do. Prioritise processes that cover your biggest work headaches, as this will have the biggest impact on keeping your department organised and focused.
#2 Understand how you react when stressed, so that you can take preventative steps
Stress makes it much harder for us to perform at work - hardly ideal if problems arise. Learn to recognise what happens when you’re stressed. It could be sweaty palms and a racing heartbeat or getting tongue-tied and being unable to focus. Spotting the early physical signs of stress means you can take preventative steps, like deep breathing and taking a short walk.
Consider, as well, if there are specific types of travel issues that make you more stressed. If this is the case, could you delegate them to a colleague or outsource them to your Travel Management Company?
#3 Make positive choices throughout the day, to prove to yourself that you’re in control
When things go wrong, we lose this sense of autonomy and start worrying about our competency - it’s not a surprise that feeling out of control a leading cause of burnout at work.
One way successful travel managers handle this pressure is by making positive life choices. For example choosing healthy snacks, like apples and almonds, over crisps or choosing to take the stairs rather than the lift. These are simple steps but they’re indicative of you making an active decision to be in charge. This approach sets you up mentally to deal with other work challenges facing travel managers.
Another option is mindfulness apps, like Headspace and Calm. They can help you to carve out time in the day to reflect and set yourself up mentally to deal when travel chaos does happen.
#4 Review and regroup, after the chaos has passed
After you’ve overcome a turbulent period, it’s tempting to try to reset and forget. However, taking the time to review what happened and why will improve the outcome in similar future situations.
Create a template to use as part of your review session. Simple steps, like completing a SWOT analysis, will help you to identify what you did right and what could be better. Use this to improve your processes.